Bloomington city government will return some of the money it received from businesses with video gambling machines because the gaming terminals have been shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city council Monday night voted unanimously to revise its emergency ordinance, which now authorizes the city to return a portion of the $500 per terminal license fee.

The city is refunding 12 percent of license fees, or a total of about $15,000, representing 46 days this fiscal year that businesses have not been able to make money from their gaming terminals.

The state has prohibited the use of video gambling machines to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The city intends to refund license fees for the amount of time the terminals won’t be operating next fiscal year, which starts Friday.

The council also agreed to language changes in the emergency ordinance that allows the city manager, with the mayor’s consent, to prorate other annual fees paid for various city licenses.

Council members directed city staffers to investigate returning fees for liquor license holders whose businesses have closed during pandemic.

Mayor Tari Renner noted some liquor license holders might not be eligible for refunds because they’re providing customers with curbside pick-up of alcohol.

The Illinois Gaming Board has ordered the suspension of all Video Gaming Operations at all licensed video gaming establishments.

Right now, the shutdown is scheduled to last until April 30th, but the situation remains fluid. The IGB will continue to monitor and will advise us of any changes should they occur.

In the meantime, please be safe. We will keep you informed as new information comes in.

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